Whistleblower Trends: Internal Programs and Foreign Whistleblowers

The following are frequently asked questions regarding whistleblower case trends. To learn more about whistleblowing or to speak with an attorney call a whistleblower lawyer and schedule a free consultation today.

Are There Any Industries That You Expect More Cases of Fraud to Emerge Moving Forward?

Yes, I do. I think that the next area of fraud that is going to receive a great deal of attention is likely going to be under state False Claims Act and under the Securities and Exchange Commission, securities fraud.

The Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower law allows a whistleblower to report fraud to the SEC anonymously, and there is a similar law for the CFTC, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission as well, and hopefully using these laws a whistleblower can obtain a reward if the agency takes an action against the defendant. And its worth mentioning that these agencies have so far been good about protecting the identity of the whistleblower.

There haven’t been a huge number of collections under either of those yet but they’re both still relatively young and a securities fraud issue is going to be a complicated matter to adjudicate.

At the same time the states, unlike the federal government, buy securities through their pension funds, through all manner of things. The states hold securities while the federal government, generally speaking, does not buy securities. So it would not surprise me to see a large case of securities fraud at a state level because some pension fund in a state in addition to other investors might have been defrauded through some securities fraud and I think you’ll see some more of that.

What Would You Say to a Whistleblower Whose Employer Has Its Own Internal Whistleblower Program? If They Decided to Participate in An Internal Program is a Whistleblower Attorney Still Necessary?

Well, I would say first of all, to be very, very careful. Admittedly, I’m the one that people come to when they’re in trouble so that is my view, but most internal whistleblower programs that I’ve heard of have gotten a whistleblower into trouble at work. I would advise a whistleblower to find out what their rights are before they take any action internally or externally for that matter.

I would say get a lawyer first. You really want to know what your position is vis-à-vis the company, vis-à-vis the law prior to taking action. It’s a dangerous thing to blow the whistle and you may have to do it, but you should do it knowing your rights. Well, you should know your rights before you do anything regarding anything on whistleblowing.

What Advice Would You Give to a Whistleblower Who Thinks They May Have a Case But is Worried About Retaliation From Their Employer? What Bases Should This Would-be Whistleblower Need to Cover Before Moving Forward With the Claim?

Well, it depends on every of kind of industry and there are all kinds of actors involved. They should call the lawyer because they can talk to the lawyer and get a confidential discussion. It can be attorney-client privileged and a lawyer can ask the questions specific to their industry and their situation to determine what their position is.

Now, there are many provisions of law that create an opportunity for a whistleblower to sue if they’ve been retaliated against. Sometimes, these provisions are called whistleblower protection provisions but the reality of these provisions is that they usually are used after a retaliation has occurred to allow a whistleblower to attempt to sue and make themselves whole.

They don’t usually protect somebody from retaliation in the first place. So learning what one’s rights are before you do anything is obviously the preferable position.

Do You Have to Be a US Citizen to Move Forward With a Whistleblower Case?

Not under the federal False Claims Act. The federal False Claims Act says a person can bring the case it does not say citizen. Having said that, I don’t know very many successful False Claims Act cases brought by non-US citizens but I don’t believe there’s anything in the law that prevents a non-US citizen from obtaining a case under the federal False Claims Act. There may be restrictions on additional and other whistleblower laws.

Could a Foreign Sub-Contractor Who Might Want to Blow The Whistle on Some Fraud Being Executed By An American Military or a Development Contracting Company Overseas be Able to Bring a Claim in the US?

Assuming that there’s jurisdiction in the United States against the Defendants, I think they can do it. I’m not saying it would be easy to do but assuming that they have a legitimate belief and legitimate evidence that there’s a contracting fraud against the United States, I think they would be able to bring the case.